1.What should I expect if I decide to use a containerized home or building in the Cook Islands?

You will still need to apply for a Building Permit through the whole process.

You will need to supply the specifications for your containerized home or building along with your submission for the Building Permit. Go to our Building Permit page to learn about what you will need.

It is best not to place the containerized buildings directly on the ground. Instead, you should have an architect or drafter to draft up designs for the foundation or piles to place your containerized building onto.


  • Plan to build a roof over a containerized building as we have experienced leaks with these kinds of buildings.
  • Ensure that the container is insulated as they get very hot without insulation.
  • Do not use these containers at the coast since they are known to rust quickly.
  • Check out the costs associated with building from scratch to compare to importing a containerized home.

2.How do I go about obtaining a Building Permit?

The process starts at the National Environment Service, then passed through Te Marae Ora (Public Health) for the septic system, and finally Building Control for the building permit.

We recommend you download our development guide to check out tips for good pre-planning for your build and things to think about.

3.How much does it usually cost to build a home in the Cook Islands?

To complete.

4.How much does a Building Permit cost?

The table below lists the costs of building permits.
Type of PermitType of BuildingFee
Building permit – Class 1, 2, 4 and 10 buildings and structures that can be measured by floor areaResidential dwelling, units/flats, a dwelling inside a building of Class 5,6,7,8 or 9, a carport, garage, shed.Rarotonga: $1.00 per m2 of total floor area (minimum $10)
Aitutaki: 60% of that for Rarotonga (minimum $10)
Pa Enua: 25% of that for Rarotonga (minimum $10)
Building permit – Class 10 structures that require a permit but which cannot be measured by floor areaA fence, mast, antenna, retaining or free standing wall, swimming poolWater tanks and solar water heaters: Exempt
Retaining walls: $100 in Rarotonga, $60 in Aitutaki, $25 in Pa Enua
Fences, free standing walls, masts, etc.: $50 in Rarotonga, $30 in Aitutaki, $10 in Pa Enua
Building permit – Class 3 buildingsHostel, residential part of a motel, school or health care building, aged or disability accommodation$4 per m2 of total floor area (minimum $200)
Building permit – Class 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 buildingsOffice building, shop/retail building, building used for storage, a public carpark, a lab, a manufacturing, repair, packing, cleaning building for trade, sale or gain.$2 per m2 of total floor area (minimum $100)
Fees for examining documentsN/A10% of the building permit fee (minimum $10)
Application to renew a building permitN/A20% of the original building permit fee
Request for inspection on completion of workN/A10% of the original building permit fee (minimum $10 for each inspection)
Permission to use public placesN/A$100 for each application
Application for Certificate of SuitabilityN/A20% of the original building permit fee
Application for a building permit resulting from a demolition noticeN/A4 times the corresponding building permit fee as per above